• Andrew Collins

Changing Trends in Chinese Social Media: Millennial Power Shift?

Updated: Jun 7, 2019

Digital marketing agents should be aware of the importance of knowing your audience. At Mailman we’re, among other things, dedicated to this concept, and we dig deep to pinpoint the particular preferences and digital trends among key audience segments in the vast landscape of Chinese internet users.

With Chinese social media, such as Weibo, the main audience segment we’re concerned with is Millennials, or to be even more specific China’s post-90’s generation. This is in large part due to the fact that over 25% of Weibo’s monthly active users are between the ages of 19 and 22 years old.

Outside of mainstream social media platforms (Weibo and WeChat), what kind of websites or apps have potential for huge user growth among millennials and post-90’s generation users?

Let’s take a look at two home-grown examples that have achieved viral user growth among this increasingly important audience segment.

First, let’s check out Bili Bili, a video website that has been around for five years but has only started to gain a huge population of users in the past year or so. Founded and operated by a group of Japanese-speaking Chinese anime fans, the site now hosts a wide variety of foreign tv shows, Hollywood films, and other random video content popular among millennials and the post-90’s generation.

Apart from hosting well-curated content, Bili Bili has an innovative core feature that is mainly accountable for the site’s mega-scale growth. Rather than the traditional style of static user comments listed below the video player, real-time user comments instead scroll across the screen horizontally. This temporal, chat-room like user experience is overwhelming at first, but pushes the short-term memory user experience to a new level of interactiveness.

In fact, some users report feelings of loneliness and a struggle to stay entertained if they go back to a normal video site WITHOUT the user comments scrolling across the screen.

While Bili Bili provides the social-intensive video experience young Chinese users have been seeking, another website called Jiecao is its user-aggregated multi-media social network counterpart. Jiecao has been referred to as China’s Buzzfeed, but it’s also much more than that. Brimming with the most up-to-date trending content, Jiecao’s users are mobile, attention-deficit, and want more than a traditional two-dimensional layout for a piece of news. Similar to Bili Bili, the user comments on Jiecao are also real-time and scroll up the screen automatically.

From a traditional point of view, the information-intensive interfaces of Jiecao and Bili Bili might seem cluttered and distracting. However, for the young Chinese netizen, these two websites are prime examples of taking user experience to a higher level. It’ll be interesting to see if this is just a fad, or if this new interactive style of social networking affects other apps and platforms and ultimately how we behave in the digital space.

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